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Thread: Touring Spain by train

  1. #1
    Master stoneyloon's Avatar
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    Touring Spain by train

    The wife and I fancy touring Spain this year, probably in June. Im not keen to hire a car so thinking about train (or bus if really necessary)
    Has anyone else done this or are there any folks based in Spain who can offer any advice?

    Id like to keep it flexible but do fancy Barcelona, Granada and Cadiz amongst others.

    Cheers,
    Adam.


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  2. #2
    Master Incredible Sulk's Avatar
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    I've never toured by train in Spain - it does sound like an interesting thing to try though. We have a place near Malaga, and use the high speed AVE (like the French TGV) to visit friends and my wife's relations, mainly in Madrid and Zaragoza. The main cities linked by the AVE are Barcelona, Madrid, Malaga, Sevilla, Cordoba, Valencia, Zaragoza and a whole bunch of others. It's absolutely brilliant watching the world whizz by at 300 km/h. From those main stations (and the intermediate stops) you could get just about anywhere you want on slower trains. That said, you could spend a month visiting the main hub cities and still not see half of what there is to see.

    However, to get to Granada for example you'd get on the AVE from Madrid to Malaga, change at Antequera and then on to Granada. Or get a local train from Malaga with a couple of changes.

    I think you probably need to decide where you want to go first, and then plan from there. Just a word of caution regarding Granada - and probably some other places you want to visit - you can't just pitch up at the Alhambra - you need to book in advance. June is a good month I think. It'll be hot but not too hot. Probably!

    The RENFE (Spanish version of British Rail) site is horrible to navigate, so here's a link to some network maps. Post up what you decide to do!

    http://www.getspain-spain.com/renfe-train-maps.html



  3. #3
    Master stoneyloon's Avatar
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    Many thanks, some great info there.

    Cheers,
    Adam.




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  4. #4
    Not Spain, but we did Eastern Europe by train last year as I was fed up with driving. Made a change, we flew to Prague then went on to Bratislava, Budapest and finally Vienna and flew home from there. Another advantage - no one way car hire charge!

    The trains in CR, Slovakia and Hungary were dirt cheap so we just went 1st. Probably not as good as UK first, but a fraction of the price. The last leg was on an Austrian train which was more like UK prices. But, all of them were clean and punctual and make our trains look like the rip-off they are.

    I picked hotels that were in easy reach of the train stations so there wasn't a need for taxis or hauling the luggage too far. I figured it was easier to jump on a tube/tram once the luggage had been ditched (or just walk) and that seemed to work out fine.

    Cheers,

    Plug

  5. #5
    Master
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    The man in seat 61 website has a lot of useful information and advice.
    I went around Europe last year with my lad, using an inter rail ticket after buying it via Quidco.
    We got a discount on Eurostar and ended up going from the station in our village down to Budapest and back via Zurich.
    Hotels were booking online when we knew where wed be each night.

  6. #6
    Chris Tarrant's doing Spain by train Channel 5 9pm today

  7. #7
    Master
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    https://www.seat61.com/Spain.htm

    Always my first stop for planning more interesting train journeys, that my wife decides are too long and we fly anyway...

  8. #8
    Grand Master jwg663's Avatar
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    Perhaps a company like www.railbookers.co.uk could be of some help?
    ______

    ​Jim.

  9. #9
    Master
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    Sorry not what you want to hear but car every time for me in Spain.

    Cheap to hire and more flexibility.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    https://www.seat61.com/Spain.htm

    Always my first stop for planning more interesting train journeys, that my wife decides are too long and we fly anyway...
    Was unaware of that website. Very informative. I checked the site's comments on Dutch Rail. Spot-on and correct details. Gives me, the reader, a sense of trust when you read about the other trains.

    Menno

  11. #11
    Grand Master Carlton-Browne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    Was unaware of that website. Very informative. I checked the site's comments on Dutch Rail. Spot-on and correct details. Gives me, the reader, a sense of trust when you read about the other trains.

    Menno
    The man in Seat61 is something of a legend and is generally to be trusted. We were in Tanzania last year and I was hoping to build a train trip into the start of our safari but, despite a wealth of information on Seat61, we never quite could make it work.
    Die Zeit verwandelt uns nicht, sie entfaltet uns nur.

  12. #12
    Master Incredible Sulk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjc1216 View Post
    Sorry not what you want to hear but car every time for me in Spain.

    Cheap to hire and more flexibility.
    Not for me. The road network has improved enormously over the years, but Spain is a big country. The OP mentioned visiting Barcelona and Cadiz that are at opposite ends. Via the Mediterranean coast road you're looking at 1200km between them (and a good chunk of that will be expensive toll roads), whilst the interior route via Zaragoza and Madrid - both worth a visit - is 1300km. Then you have to navigate the cities, figure out how the parking zones work etc etc. Driving is of course doable and many do, but spending day after day in a car doesn't sound like much of a holiday to me.

    Where a car would make sense is if you were doing a region of Spain - say around Madrid. For example, you could do Avila, Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, the Valle de los Caidos (I'd get that in quick before they dig up Franco) and probably dozens of other places I've forgotten. One end of the country to another though, I'd go by train, or fly.

  13. #13
    Master stoneyloon's Avatar
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    Many thanks folks, some absolutely fantastic information there.
    Thatll keep me busy for a while....

    Cheers,
    Adam.




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  14. #14
    Craftsman
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    Be interested to see how you get on with planning, have used the trains in France (inc Motorail for bikes) Sardinia, Holland and would like to go to Austria to see friends by train. Love going from our house walk to local station and go via ferry(Harwich) or air (Gatwick to California) Wanted to go on Amtrak but had hired a Mustang! Cheers, John B4

  15. #15
    Master Xantiagib's Avatar
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    just some FYI's

    there's a direct Barcelona to Seville Ave

    From there then you can pop to cadiz and Granada by train too

  16. #16
    Master stoneyloon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xantiagib View Post
    just some FYI's

    there's a direct Barcelona to Seville Ave

    From there then you can pop to cadiz and Granada by train too
    Perfect, thanks for that.


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